New Zealand road cyclist George Bennett has made some home modifications as he pushes to beat the heat and clinch a podium finish at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
As well as skipping the Tour de France to focus on his Olympic preparation, the 31-year-old has also had a sauna built at his home in Europe as he prepares for the hot conditions in Japan.
“In Tokyo you’re going to have to be strong and be a good climber,” said Bennett.
“You’re also going to need to be able to handle the heat, the conditions are really extreme, so I’ve built heat adaption sessions into my programme.
“Part of that has seen me getting in from training and jumping straight into a really hot sauna with no water to drink and I basically just hang out in there and try not to pass out.”
With temperatures in Japan often reaching 35-degree Celsius at this time of year Bennett has been meticulous in his heat preparation and has been working with High Performance Sport New Zealand to ensure he’s got everything he needs on race day.
“How organised we can be in terms in cooling will be huge. We’re going to be taking ice slushies in our drink bottles and will have people positioned along the course with cooling drinks.”
“Overall, when you look at how hard and hot Tokyo is going to be it’s the perfect course for a guy like me. It probably is a once in a career opportunity, it’s my best shot at an Olympic medal and I’m really excited for it.”
Bennett will race alongside New Zealand teammate Patrick Bevan who will be competing in his first Olympic Games.
“I’m feeling pretty lucky that Paddy will be there to support me, I did Rio with no teammates and it was impossible.
“I feel like I have the best support in the whole field, Paddy has an engine and amazing experience and positioning skills so I couldn’t be happier to be riding with him.
“There will be teams of six or seven guys but a good team of two can get the job done and we’ll be giving it everything we’ve got.”
The men’s road race will be contested on July 24th.